Written by: Lateef Khan

Business Development Executive | General Manager Digital Services & Solutions | P&L Leader


The Gartner definition of digitalization highlights that in developing and implementing digital capabilities, you must drive new business value and outcomes within your organization. However in many situations, a new or evolved business process is also a complementary requirement in order to achieve the result you desire.


An example of this is establishing an enterprise solution across the Digital Thread for standard component selection and design reuse. To further understand this, let’s break this down and analyze these two areas, the digital technologies and the business processes starting with the latter.


The first step is to pull together a formal workshop with a group of cross-functional subject matter experts from engineering, manufacturing, sourcing and quality to collaborate and develop a taxonomy classification hierarchy representing the elements of a company’s specific products. Upon establishing this hierarchy, a new data governance body and process must be created to maintain this going forward.


In parallel to this activity, you will need to form a new group that will be known as a component review board (CRB). The responsibility of the CRB will be to build an enterprise parts library that will be fully vetted functionally from a specification standpoint, meeting RoHS & other regulatory requirements, target cost, insuring any end of life issues do not exist, etc. In addition the CRB will develop a new workflow process with appropriate reviewers & approvers for an engineer or other personas to submit a request to add a new part to the library. Finally, the CRB resource or librarian will also create the digital representation of that component, i.e. a 3D model of a fastener with its classification and corresponding metadata.


As a few of the core business process areas have been mentioned let’s also look at the key digital elements that need to be part of the overall solution. First, we need to enable the design engineer to have access to the preferred parts library. This must be integrated right within the author tool (CAD) so the engineer has it available at their fingertips and does not need to leave their design environment. In addition, a robust enterprise search tool must also be integrated right into the CAD environment. The search tool must be intuitive, have filtering features to allow a user to quickly and easily find the right component, and leverage shape search features. Lastly PLM is of course an essential part of the digital framework, in that it will manage the lifecycle of the components within the parts library, digitize the full taxonomy classification and metadata and maintain any change management requirements as needed.


We need to realize that this business and digital transformation will not take place overnight. It will take some time, but by making the new correct method easy to use and the legacy, incorrect method difficult to use, it will naturally transition the install base over a period of time. In addition establishing metrics and kpis for measuring use and adoption of these standard parts, and driving accountability of these targets through an Executive Champion, will assist in making the transformation process successful.